Georgia is currently a hotly contested state in the 2020 presidential election, with the margin between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump at less than 1%.
The current results are highlighting a political shift in a state that many considered solidly red with its win for Trump in 2016. However, the state has been leaning bluer in recent elections, thanks in no small part to progressive activists like Stacey Abrams.
“We know that 10 years ago they wrote off the state of Georgia,” Abrams, the former 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and the Georgia House of Representatives minority leader told USA Today. “But since that time we have been growing and growing, … and now, we’re grown! We are ready to be the blue state that we were meant to be.”
According to many other activists, Abrams has been a major leader in Georgia’s political arena. In 2013, she founded The New Georgia Project, “a nonpartisan effort to register and civically engage Georgians,” according to its website. Then, in 2018, Abrams ran for governor, actively encouraging a strategy of increasing voter turnout among groups who were already interested in the platform — most importantly in communities of color.
Although Abrams lost the race — though only by 1.5% — she refused to concede the election. Instead, she accused her opponent, then-secretary of state Brian Kemp, of causing voter suppression and an “erosion of our democracy” in his role of overseeing the election.
“The best way to defeat voter suppression is by having such a high turnout that the barriers to voting have limited effect,” Abrams told USA Today.
Abrams didn’t let her 2018 loss stop her, though. She floated the idea of running for president, was recruited and then turned down a Senate run, and was vetted by Biden as a potential running mate. However, no matter how big of a step she climbed, Abrams was certain to keep an eye on George, making sure it was treated as a serious swing state during the upcoming presidential election.
It’s why she founded Fair Fight, a group that according to its website “promote[s] fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage[s] voter participation in elections, and educate[s] voters about elections and their voting rights.” Fair Fight raised over $30 million by October, most of which was given to state Democratic parties to help increase grassroots organizing and voter registration. The organization also lobbied for state and federal legislation with the aim of expanding voting rights.
On top of here recent achievements, Abrams also literally wrote the playbook for Democratic politics in the state. Along with former campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo, she createed a 16-page document outlining the state trends that would benefit the party, as well as resources and suggested strategies.
Considering the Senate is balancing on Georgia, and considering the state’s importance in the presidential election, many are keeping a close eye on it in the next coming weeks. And the state can thank Abrams not only for putting it on the map as a major swing state but also for ensuring that Georgians are given the voting rights they deserve in this and every election.